Poplin told ABC11 her troubles began when a girl calling herself Nicole came to her door claiming to be a neighbor and a sophomore at UNC.
"She talked for about five minutes. It was real cold and windy, so I let her come in," said Poplin.
Once inside, the girl gave Poplin a sales pitch about books she was selling.
"She was selling them for a trip to go to Paris and France with her school this summer," said Poplin.
Poplin wanted to help, so she bought four sets of books. One set was for her grandson and the other sets - Poplin told the girl - she could donate to UNC Children's Hospital. The total for the books was $220.
"Well, I got the check out and started filling it out and she said 'Well, I can fill it out for you.' Because I already said I was going to pay cash, $55, for my grandson's books," Poplin recalled.
Poplin said she went into her bedroom to get the $55 while the girl filled in the amount on the check.
"I had already signed it and I didn't even look at it when I came back because I just thought she was trustworthy cause she looked like a young, little innocent girl," said Poplin.
Poplin said the girl told her the books would arrive within two weeks and went on her way. Poplin said she never thought anything else about it until she got her bank statement and realized she paid twice for some of the books. Despite saying she gave the girl $55 cash for part of the book order, the check was written and cashed for the entire $220 purchase, not $165. But the even bigger problem is - more than two months after ordering the books - Poplin doesn't have anything to show for her $275.
The books for her grandson have not arrived.
Now, she wants others to learn from her costly mistake.
"I want them to know not to let anyone in your house - to anyone selling books or magazines especially. Don't let them in your house cause they'll talk you into it," she said.
ABC11 has heard similar stories from several Triangle residents - all with the same story of college students selling books and magazines.
In this particular case, the company the girl was selling the books for is nxcesssales LLC. ABC11 reached out to the company for comment, but it did not respond.
Poplin's receipt does state the girl who sold her the books is self-employed and just places the order through nxcess. It also states on the receipt the first product should arrive within 120 days, but Poplin says she's not hopeful.